When most people think of orchids, they envision large showy, delicate, exotic flowers hanging from a moist limb on a large tree in a dark tropical forest or an expensive flower in their local flower shop. The orchids envisioned might look like one of those shown on the right. Interestingly many orchids are small and quite a few of the species are rather un-showy. The diversity of orchids in fact is huge, as the orchid family is the largest of all flowering plant families. To be exact there are over 30,000 orchid species occurring on every continent. Although orchids are found in cold regions the majority are native to moist, tropical environments.
The Virgin Islands certainly qualify as a tropical destination but are there native orchids growing here? Yes there are and in fact there is an Orchid Society on St. Croix that has existed for many years!
The St. Croix Orchid Society was organized about 35 years ago by a group of individuals who loved plants, especially orchids and who were interested in educating the community about them. The principle ambition was to expose the St. Croix community to the wonder and beauty of orchids. Today some founding members are still active and the society has over 60 members.
The group meets on the last Sunday of each month, except in December and Thanksgiving weekend. At each meeting members are educated about orchid care and there are demonstrations in re-potting, fertilizing and keeping plants healthy. The society’s big event is the Orchid Show each February but the participants do participate in conjunction with other garden related events. In March the St. George Village Botanical Garden has a Flower Festival which the Orchid Society participates in by conducing Orchid sales and having workshops for the community on caring for plants and orchids. The Botanical Gardens host an Orchid house which society members assist in maintaining.
The Orchid Society’s main annual event is a fantastic showcase of orchids. And this year the St. Croix Orchid Society will once again grace St. Croix with the beauty of orchids at the 33rd St. Croix Orchid Society show, “Rhapsody of Orchids”. This wonderful event will be held next month at the American Legion Hall in Christiansted, St. Croix. Come and see the great displays of flowers. Learn about orchids. Buy orchids or even win a live orchid plant!